Ben Weingarten

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Category: Politics (Page 1 of 15)

Confucius Institutes: Centers of Chinese Cultural Exchange, or Trojan Horses for Propaganda and Penetration of U.S. College Campuses?

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My Guest

Rachelle Peterson is director of research projects at the National Association of Scholars (NAS), an organization dedicated to upholding “the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship.” In that position, she has published numerous reports on trends in academia that threaten these values and principles, including one on the subject of this podcast titled Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education. Mrs. Peterson’s research and commentary has been published in outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, and Commentary magazine. She has discussed her research on the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal and on numerous radio shows.

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Deep Dive on the Declaration of Independence and its Values, Principles and Relevance to Modern America

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Episode Summary

For Independence Day, I take a deep dive into the Declaration of Independence, discussing its unique place in human history and the cause of freedom; the link between natural law and natural rights, faith and freedom; the Founders’ emphasis on virtue and morality to sustain a free system of limited government; parallels between the charges laid out against King George III in the Declaration and today’s federal Leviathan from the administrative state to sanctuary cities; the Founders’ views on slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and failing to live up to the values and principles of the Declaration; the imperative to defend liberty against tyranny.

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Democrat Pollster Doug Schoen on Life Lessons from Politics, Learning from Clinton and Nixon, Threats from China and Russia and Our Damaged Institutions


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My Guest

Doug Schoen has been one of the most influential Democratic campaign consultants for over thirty years. A founding partner and principal strategist for Penn, Schoen & Berland, he is widely recognized as one of the co-inventors of overnight polling. He has advised presidents, prime ministers and titans of private industry. He is the author of multiple books; his most recent include Putin’s Master PlanThe Nixon Effect (interview here), and Return to Winter: Russia, China, and the New Cold War Against America (interview here). Schoen is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and various other newspaper and online publications as well as Fox News.

Even though Doug and I disagree on several political issues, I am proud to call him a mentor and friend. His insights on politics and policy are not at all clouded by ideology, something rare in the world of punditry and prognostication. And his experience, judgment and wisdom are unparalleled. Perhaps most importantly, Doug and I share a love of country and belief in the imperative to defend it.

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Big Banks Had More Integrity than the Obama Admin in Refusing to Collude with Iran for Iran Deal

When Obama Pressured Big Banks To Break The Law For Iran, They Resisted

Financial institutions, though often maligned especially in the post-financial crisis world, serve a vital marketplace function. Just like all enterprises, they can be vehicles for good, such as raising capital to help businesses grow, and ill, such as engaging in fraudulent activities.

On the negative side of the ledger, there is a sordid history of banks prioritizing profit over principle (principal over principal?) when it comes to doing business with evil regimes and sinister characters — most notably Swiss institutions during and after World War II, something I am proud to say my father worked to rectify.

This is what makes revelations over the latest Iran Deal-related Obama administration scandal so astonishing.

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Victor Davis Hanson on the Decline of the American Academy, Threats to Western Civilization Foreign and Domestic, ‘The Resistance’ and its Assault on the Trump Presidency (VIDEO INTERVIEW)

For Encounter Books’ “Close Encounters” video interview series, I spoke with the eminent Hoover Institution classicist, historian and National Review Online contributor Victor Davis Hanson on a wide range of subjects from the decline of the American academy to Middle East policy, North Korea, the Mueller special counsel and the assault on the Trump presidency from all sides and much more.

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Andrew Klavan on the Criticality of Conservative Competition in Culture, Regressive Progressivism, Political Correctness, Free Speech

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My Guest

Andrew Klavan (@andrewklavan) is a screenwriter, bestselling crime and suspense novelist, contributor to publications such as City Journal and PJ Media and proprietor of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” a video podcast on The Daily Wire.

Klavan is witty, he’s got a sense of humor and a keen understanding of the importance of narrative and storytelling to culture.

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Heather Mac Donald on Corrosive Identity Politics, Multiculturalism and Unjust Criminal Justice

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My Guest

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal and author most recently of The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.

Mac Donald, the archetype of an unassuming academic, makes for an unlikely counter-cultural figure. She draws protests and outrage on college campuses across the country because she has the gall to challenge the prevailing progressive orthodoxy about subjects like identity politics, multiculturalism and criminal justice.

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Iran Deal Wasn’t the Alternative to War — it was Essential to Iran’s Ongoing War

The Iran Deal Wasn’t An ‘Alternative To War,’ It Was A Continuation Of War
In the wake of the decision by the Trump administration to pull out of the Obama administration non-treaty known as “Iran Deal,” two narratives emerged from the hysterical Iran Deal echo chamber:

1) Iran Deal was the alternative to war;
2) Consequently, jettisoning it was the path to war, part of a “neocon” plot for another invasion, occupation and nation-building effort

Both elements of this narrative are patently false, as I argue in a new piece in The Federalist.

In fact, Iran Deal can best be thought of as the recapitalization effort for a war the Khomeinist regime in Tehran has been waging against all who refuse to submit to its totalitarian Islamic revolutionary rule since 1979.

This recapitalization effort in tandem with a Swiss cheese verification regime provided the funding and veneer of moderation under which Iran rapidly accelerated and expanded its Shia Crescent and malign operations globally.

Stated differently: We in the West bankrolled Iran’s worldwide march. The only thing the verification regime confirmed was the delusion of our purported leaders.

Exiting the deal represents the first step towards stopping Iran’s march, and thwarting its imperialist efforts. It is about stopping the flow of cash to jihadists and indicating a resolve to cease with the appeasement and reassert ourselves in the face of their goose-stepping.

The idea floated by the Iran Deal’s ardent defenders — many of whom shamefully raised the dual loyalty canard to try to browbeat American Jews into supporting the deal originally — that Israel’s defensive attacks on Iranian military assets in Syria immediately following the U.S. decision to pull out of the deal indicates a concerted plan for some long-sought war could not be more wrong.

Israel’s efforts are about defending its sovereignty against a metastasizing threat to its existence aided, abetted and enabled by the Iran Deal-istas.

Iran is not Iraq. It’s a once relatively pro-Western, secular, liberal, modern nation that has been hijacked by jihadists. In order to ensure America’s national interests, and those of our allies are served, there is no need for invasion, occupation and re-casting of a Sharia dictatorship as a Jeffersonian democracy. Rather what is needed is a concerted set of actions to bring down the jihadist regime through means peaceful and militant, overt and covert, enabling the Iranian people to end the Islamic revolution. Ideological warfare, as Michael Ledeen has convincingly argued, must play a significant role.

A fish rots from the head, one of the many reasons why Iran Deal wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. But the necessity for regime change does not necessitate Iraq 2.0.

The Iran Deal echo chamber is, per usual, attacking straw men.

The Paradox of Silicon Valley Progressivism on Display in Compelling New Film ‘General Magic’

Tribeca Film ‘General Magic’ Shows How Capitalism Pulls Big Success Out Of Big Failures
One of the great paradoxes of Silicon Valley is that while its denizens are monolithically progressive, its creatives and entrepreneurs illustrate in their own lives the virtues of the free enterprise system that progressives loathe.

While the propensity for risk-taking is in part cultural, the ability to create and bring new goods and services to the public requires favorable social, political and economic conditions. This is why a communist nation like China resorts to stealing intellectual property to compete. It’s why innovation in progressive Europe pales in comparison to what we see in America.

Innovation requires the protection of individual liberty, private property rights and free markets. But Silicon Valley’s progressive political allies are often hostile to these principles.

A compelling new film featured at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival reflects this tension. While the liberal audience at the world premiere for “General Magic” — a new documentary about the “failed” tech company of that name — might not have realized it, the movie is an exceptional story about capitalism that viewers of all stripes will appreciate.

I recently reviewed this documentary at The Federalist.

Here’s a taste from the piece:

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Disturbing Admission of Former CIA Director Inadvertently Illustrates Disastrous Politicization

Gen. Michael Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director, has inadvertently revealed the ultimate subtext for the political establishment’s antagonism towards President Trump.

He writes in a recent New York Times editorial:

When asked for counsel these days by officers who are already in government, especially more junior ones, I remind them of their duty to help the president succeed. But then I add: ‘Protect yourself. Take notes and save them. And above all, protect the institution. America still needs it. [Emphasis mine]

This is the buried lede in an essay adapted from Gen. Hayden’s forthcoming book The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies.

The focus of his piece is that we are moving into a new “post-truth era,” making it impossible for intelligence agencies to do their job.

But as I show in a new piece at The Federalist, this premise masks the true animating factor behind the words and deeds of the national security and foreign policy establishment in relation to President Trump from the 2016 campaign on.

The establishment has served under presidents before who have not been, to put it politely, paragons of truth and virtue — sometimes to the great detriment of our national security.

What really differentiates the current president from his predecessors is his willingness to speak one major inconvenient truth: The world has gotten progressively more dangerous and chaotic under establishment leadership in the post-Cold War era, in particular under the Obama-Clinton administration.

Calling out this failure, and challenging the worldview that has led to the actions that caused it, is what these individuals cannot abide because it represents an attack on their power, influence and credibility.

“[A]bove all, protect[ing the institution” is a sentiment that would suggest those in our bureaucracies would condone all manner of actions that undermine our constitutional order.

And what have we seen over the last two years in the national security and foreign policy establishment, as well as our justice system?

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